In true telenovela fashion, the riveting tale of Cuba’s most recent defector has come home to Hialeah.
Love, not politics, has brought Glenda Murillo Díaz, 24, to visit her boyfriend in the capital of the Cuban exile, her aunt in Tampa, Idania Díaz, has told El Nuevo Herald.
True story or smoke screen? No one really knows.
But the daughter of Cuba’s vice president, Marino Murillo — the man in charge of executing Raúl Castro’s economic policies — left a psychologists’ conference in Mexico earlier this month, crossed the border into Texas and was paroled into the U.S.
New life, new Facebook page, starting with a picture of Murillo posing next to an image of Elvis in St. Petersburg.
Will we now see her in Hialeah with the man she loves? Or is her real man back home, as some claim?
Regardless, her story is a window into the lives of young Cubans of her generation — the children and grandchildren of people who hold or have held high posts in the repressive Cuban regime.
I’ve met several of them and they have one thing in common: They grew up saturated with rhetoric and dogma, detest politics, and cite a myriad personal reasons for leaving, but not political conviction.
They like the trappings of the free world, but shun the politics that keep it free.
So far, the most interesting element about Murillo’s defection is the public trail she has left online.
Through that most American of entitlements, the Facebook page — she had one in Cuba and has a new one now — a portrait of the new, privileged generation emerges: Virtually all white, they grew up with material goods the rest of the population lacks, but are now scattered all over the globe and connected via a technology that exposes them like never before.
A search through the profiles of Murillo’s friends and family, and friends of their friends, shows an unrecognizable, elite Cuba: middle-class, trendy, fashionable.
Raisa, a blond bombshell of a chess player, also studied psychology at the University of Havana. Computer scientist Frank, class of 2007, now lives in Sydney, Australia. He has Cuban friends all over the world — including Cosette from Kendall, who likes Paul Ryan (Cosette is the only one with a political post, particularly interesting since in 2002 Ryan favored lifting the Cuban embargo, calling it “a failed policy”).
Profile after profile, you see young people who claim as their alma maters the exclusive Havana school named after Lenin, and then the University of Havana. But their location on the map — Madrid, Miami, etc. — tells you “ la Lenin” has graduated more “ gusanos” — worms, as Fidel Castro labeled those who left in the 1960s — than faithful Communists.
One profile brings you to a photograph of a backyard in Hialeah — or is it Havana? It’s hard to tell where Havana ends and Hialeah begins. Same abuelas in rocking chairs, a dog napping at their feet, and a homemade roof terrace.
The voyeuristic trip takes you to another friend, a wedding-cake maker in Hialeah, and from there it’s easy to picture Murillo’s happy — apolitical? — telenovela ending.